Former Tonchidot COO joins Japan’s family-centric social network on board

R to L: CEO Hiromichi Ando and COO/CTO Ryo Sato

See the original story in Japanese.

Tokyo-based Compath Me, the startup best known for its family-centric photo-based social network service Kiddy, announced today that Ryo Sato, former COO of Tokyo-based Tab (previously known as Tonchidot, the startup that had been providing legendary augmented reality app Sekai Camera), has joined Compath Me as COO and CTO. With Sato on the team, Compath Me aims to improve product development and service design around the Kiddy platform.

Sato had been serving Japanese internet company Netage (now known as United) as CTO and executive vice president, as well as devoting himself to overseas business development at Tab. Compath Me’s founder and CEO Hiromichi Ando explains why they hired Sato:

Kiddy is still a family-centric social network platform but will be a hub for various information usages, such as home automation products in the future. We may let it handle videos as well, so we need to boost our technical skills. We initially thought to appoint Sato as COO, but later decided to appoint him as CTO as well because of his engineering background.

Compath Me will restructure the engineering team under Sato to transform the company from a service operator into a technology-oriented company.

Sato will be appointed COO and CTO at Compath Me’s shareholder meeting later this month. Sato explains his aims for the company:

By combining forces of a person like me who has experienced working at several startups and young people who have great passion, we’ll grow the company better. We should be a company with strengths in software technology. We’ll focus on hiring interns and client-side engineers like iOS or Android app developers.

Since graduating from Tokyo-based incubator Open Network Lab in 2011, Compath Me had been operating without a fixed office space and team members worked remotely or at a co-working space for about three years. However, upon Sato’s joining the team, the company established an office in Yoyogi, Tokyo, to improve productivity and to better attract talented human resources. They will also set up a remote work environment to allow engineers to work from home.

iddy is a social network platform for families that allows photo sharing of kids. The Kiddy user base is a big asset for Compath Me. But as the kids of users grow up Compath Me will need to transfer the user base into another service in order to convert that asset into a new business. They have not yet decided whether to scale up the Kiddy platform or scale out to another service, but their team led by Sato will open up a new vista for the company.